guest post: nutrition & cancer by jillian mckee



{pictured above: grilled harissa & veggies}

As frightening and upsetting as Cancer can be, few of us have been unaffected thus far: whether discovering it within us or someone we love dearly.  Today’s guest author, Jillian Mckee, is the Complimentary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.  

Nutrition and Cancer 

Proper nutrition is a key part of the battle against cancers of all types. Caregivers need to learn all they can about the nutritional needs of someone with cancer.  Proper nutrition is an important aspect of survival in all cancers, whether someone has mesothelioma, leukemia or cancers of the digestive tract. Here is a list of considerations regarding nutrition and cancer:

Weight Loss and Gain: 

The goal during cancer treatment is to maintain the current weight even if a patient is overweight.  It turns out overweight persons often survive longer with cancers simply due to having more body mass to stand up to the effects of cancer.  This is not a reason to become overweight since overall the effects of obesity are not good for the body.  Some drugs that are used to treat cancer, for example, steroids, will cause the patient to gain weight.  Other cancer drugs will decrease appetite due to nausea or changes in taste.  Despite all of this, the goal is to remain the current weight.  A cancer patient should check their weight several times a week and keep close track of the calories that they take in.  They need to maintain a level that will keep their weight in check. This often means revising the diet quite frequently.  Use of a registered dietician is a great help here.

Type of diet: 

The diet should be well balanced with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Protein obtained from dairy products or legumes may be easier for the patient to handle than that of prepared meats.  Certain medications for cancer can interact with some foods.  The patient should check with his doctor and make sure these foods are controlled or eliminated from the diet.  Problems often involve grapefruit, caffeine, and alcohol.  If possible, the patient should eat a majority of unprocessed foods, such as, salad or raw carrots.   Five small meals may be more suitable to a cancer patient since they don’t usually have a big appetite at any meal.  Meals must also be planned around any medications that should not be taken with food.  Those patients with special problems such as diabetes or those with cancers involving the digestive tract should consult with a cancer nutrition specialist to find foods that can be eaten safely by the patient.  It is not unusual for a cancer patient to need several kinds of diets depending on where in their therapy they are at any given time.

Enteral or liquid feedings: 

Eating regular food is better for the digestive system since the body was designed to do this.  If it becomes so difficult that a patient cannot properly eat with normal foods, supplements or enteral feedings may be necessary.  Enteral feedings are liquid feedings that are delivered directly into a vein or the stomach.  Unfortunately, these types of feedings often cause diarrhea and can decrease the appetite even more for regular foods.  This is a difficult choice, but a combination of supplements and regular foods is best if possible.  Sometimes a patient needs to approach food as a type of medicine needed to get well if all else fails.   Many patients have some success with using a favorite food as a reward for following their diet plan.

Other issues: 

Cancer changes the way the body responds to food.  One major problem with all cancers is that the rapid growth of the cancer uses up the body’s energy much faster than normal.  Once the body has started to loose protein mass from cancer this condition is very hard to stop.  It is important that this change be monitored carefully in the cancer patient.

Some patients develop sores, nausea, mental changes and taste problems.  Many of these issues may occur without the patient being able to notify his or her caregivers.   These changes need to be watched for by the caregiver because they can have a detrimental effect on treatment.  Such changes can cause a decline in appetite that prevents a patient from regaining his strength.

Once a patient reaches a stage where he or she will not recover, proper nutrition will still add to their comfort.  Lack of proper nutrition creates additional problems due to lack of vitamins, energy and changes in sugar levels.  Nutrition continues to be a necessity even in advanced stages of cancer.

Thanks Jillian!  If anyone has questions or would like to contact Jillian, you can find her bio and contact info here and additional articles she has written here.   Enjoy the last days of Summer everyone! xo~ katrina 

no more shopping, polenta, & some college memories

$ 200 spent in August and we’re not going to spend anymore.  Yes, we’re a little crazy, but we’ve got some big goals and thanks to bulking up we cut our food/grocery bill down in half in the month of July.

For August we decided to make another record.  We shopped at Costco and Good Earth on the 16th and we’re avoiding any spending for the rest of the month.

No, it’s not much, but if we can live off of $200 (nearly $100 of which are diapers, wipes, pull-ups, and tp…and yes, the explorer is officially in training!), then our financial goals seem so much more obtainable.

And isn’t that what we all want?  To feel like we can live on less and still be happy?

Well it’s what we want.  :)

Meanwhile, it’s raining outside and we had a warm polenta lunch with some fresh delish green beans from the designer’s mom’s garden.  Thank you!

Polenta…don’t you love it?  I think about my sophmore year at BYU when we were taking turns cooking meals each week (cooks in training was more like it).  One morning my rommie Jen, was craving grits.  And she was not getting any sympathy from Amos, Nance and I, who were all raised in So. Cal. and who had not even heard of grits.

Jen managed to get to the store and made us some grits with eggs one morning.  They were good.  I wan’t sure if I’d want them every morning.  But I did enjoy trying something new for breakfast.

Then while studying abroad in Italy one summer, Gayle, Laura, Elizabeth and I took a funicular (ladies do you remember?  was it a funicular?  or one of those disneyland wire buckets?) up the moutain side above Lago Maggiore, (in the same district as Lakes Como and Bellagio).  Seriously amazing place.  Isola Bella (the beautiful island) in the middle of the lake is the home of the town Stesa and the Borromeo palace.  Beautiful gardens, grotto and of course so much history, & artifacts.  But back to the story…

We ate some handmade polenta (all fancifully formed), venison, and yummy fresh local veggies.  I’d never had polenta.  I was charmed.  Yes, I used to buy polenta in tubes, but now making it is ever soo easy.

I’ve posted my green bean creamy herb polenta recipe we ate today here if you’re interested. Enjoy!

guest posting & an update of sorts

My Domain ( officially expired this week and for some reason I couldn’t get into my account to post that I was guest posting yesterday on Progressive Pioneer and today on Mormon Mommy Blogs.

Here are the links: Progressive Pioneer & Mormon Mommy Blogs

Meanwhile, my art website should be up and running the end of next week. Crossing my fingers! The new chair pieces are coming along and lining our walls. :)

Our niece is being baptised tomorrow afternoon…so looking forward to that!

I’m teaching a nutrition class Tuesday evening (the 8th of June)…let me know if you’d like to come and I’ll give you the details.

My brothers are graduating from High School and Middle School, so we’re road trippin’ it to Cali next Friday. We’ll be gone for a week, but just enough to get a bit busy tying loose ends for our upcoming wba gallery Garden Show Friday June 25th and Saturday June 26th in Janice’s lovely Garden in Heber City. More to come…:)

Hope you’re all enjoying the brink or the beginnings of Summer!!! xoxo, katrina

discovery – lds hoslistic living conference

Not too long ago, I read this fabulous quote by J. Reuben Clark on my friend Amy Jones’ website:

In the latter days the time will come when there will not be enough doctors to take care of our medical needs and problems, and it will be necessary for men to honor their priesthood and to be prepared to take care of the sick; and every woman will have to be a home nurse with a working knowledge of nursing to meet the need. ~ J. Reuben Clark, Jr.; General Conference, 1937

Days later I went to see ZD and was treated for the third time for my allergy to grains.  Not all of the treatments were the same.  The last was actually a combination of the grains, spirituality, emotions, and a prominent figure in my life that I love.  {I know it sounds bizzare…but I ate Chelsy’s delicious pasta the other night without side-effects!}

The week prior, the dancer had contracted strep and ZD had treated her.  During the treatment, ZD found that the dancer was struggling with something in her saliva…causing her discomfort and coughing fits.  She suggested I treat her when we returned home.  The dancer loves going to “ZD’s house” and is very comfortable being treated, so it was not too strange for her to have her momma try at home. 

We noticed her coughing ceased the following day {and has not returned in the past month}.  The next day, the builder was complaining of his throat.  I immediately checked inside and could see the white spots of strep.  Quickly, I treated him, the explorer, and had the designer treat me as well.  

He was back to normal the following day.  None of the rest of us got strep, despite it’s rampage on many of our friends, neighbors, and community.

Back to my treatment with ZD…she asked how the treatment with the dancer had gone, and was very pleased to find we’d done additional treatments.  I immediately felt the love that she had for each of us within me…and the pride that we were taking care of each other.  That night she sent me home with an Eastern gadget to help me learn to do kinesiology with more confidence. 

Some of my best friends are nurses, teachers of nurses, a sister-in-law and her mother are learning and using  herbal remedies, my sister is becoming a surgical technician, best friends from college are now medical researchers and physicians, a cousin that is a family practitioner…the list goes on and on. 

Though my part to play is small, I hope to continue learning by the spirit, gaining His confidence, and use the abilities within me to care for my family.  Blessed as we are, to have the priesthood honored within our home, I am glad to have the opportunity to take my small part in Elder Clark’s prophecy.

Meanwhile, Amy will join other lds holistic specialists sharing all they’ve learned and experienced at The Holistic LDS Living Conference.  It will be an amazing day!

What comes to mind when you read the quote by Elder Clark?  What skills have you acquired that will help you in this role?  What do you look forward to learning?

theory – our “to do it all” list: the balancing act

chloé’s bonnet, 6×8 oil on canvas, (of chloé’s baby blessing ensemble)

Before music class last month, my friend Kristi, {Miss Kristi}, shared her big news with me: they had just learned that they were chosen, to adopt a sweet daughter… to be born in a few weeks!

Let me back up a bit.  One morning last Summer, we had got together in her newly finished basement, her headquarters of Music Together.  As our kiddos played together, we talked about her latest dreams.  Design dreams for her basement: colors, ideas, paintings of musical instruments on the wall, a large portrait (we called it the mural), of she and her children making music together, but the one that touched me most was the desire to adopt a third child.

You can imagine the elation I felt when she told me that dream was soon to become a reality.  Oh, how I love adoption! 

Then Kristi told me how she’d been thinking of me specifically, thinking about what it will be like for her to have three little ones at home…so close in age.  You see, she watches us in Music Class; the only crazed mom that comes with three kiddos (or at least that has taken several classes with 3).  We have a blast, yet it is hard work.  (Just ask my MIL who was completely worn-out after taking them once…I’ve vowed never to do that to her again). 

We talked candidly for a bit.  I described how the transition from 2 to 3 was not easy for me.  She laughed and said she just wanted honesty.  Wanted to know how hard it would be…how much she’ll need to slow down.

Just like all you beautiful ladies out there, Kristi is an amazing gal.  She is a beautiful mother, a talented Music Together teacher, as well as a Piano Teacher.  A balancing act of motherhood, marriage partner, teacher, and friend (among the many other hats she wears). 

Truly, it is a balancing act.  One in which, I believe our Father in Heaven is not only aware of, but I know he feels joy when we use the talents we have been given. 

I’ve been thinking about “Seasons” lately.  Yes, there is a time and a season for all things.  But there is also a balancing act of sorts, and how do we justify it all?

We know we have each been blessed with talents…that we are not to hide them in the sand…but how and when to use them?  So does he only expect us to use them during certain seasons?  I don’t believe so. 

And this is what I shared with Kristi: that I believe He expects us to use what we have been given.  That we really can “do it all”…in a way….

This is where priorities come in to play.  As we analyse the gifts we’ve been given, talents we are to use to serve our families and others, we still have to choose.  Choose what will be on our “do it all” list.  I’ve decided that there are many things I just can’t put on my list at this time.  But there are still quite a few talents I can develop right now. 

We all have a list.  And they should be different.  Here is my latest list I’ve pondered, reevaluated, and chosen:

  1. motherhood
  2. marriage
  3. faith
  4. teacher
  5. chef
  6. artist
  7. recorder
  8. friend

No, it’s not a long list.  But I’ve decided that I’m going to do it all!  At least, all that is on my list.  :)  Doing it all doesn’t mean that I have to give 100% in every area.  That is where the Seasons and priorities play a part. 

Right now, I have three wee ones at home.  We do preschool at home.   When they are all in school, I imagine I will have more time to be an artist and keep better tabs on my friends.  This Season of my life, a couple hours a week doing art is still doing it all for me. 

Even though, I placed motherhood, marriage, & faith in #1-3, I feel they, combined, take priority #1.  Or at least, they share the same % of my time and energy.

Learning to cook from scratch is a higher priority than painting, so I’m trying to use that time to learn and create each day. 

Honestly, looking at friend at the end of my list makes me feel guilty.  I’ve not found the time to be the friend I’d like to be.  I’d love to call and chat with so many of you on a regular basis.  I just hope that a quick email or comment on your blog reminds you that I care and that though I don’t call, I do think of each of you…a lot!  Much of the mother & wife I am becoming and hope to become has been influenced by so many dear friends.

So, dear Kristi, congrats!  Congrats on sweet Annabelle, she is beautiful.  Make your list & take it to the Lord.  He will help you do all that he has asked of you, all that you have chosen, and all that you want to be as a new mother of three.

Much luv,


p.s.  Looks like we will need to do another mural here in a year or two…:)

What is on your “to do” list?  Does it change as mine does, ever so frequently with new blessings/gifts, and responsibilities?  How have Seasons effected your list?

theory – healing is a choice that requires faith

I was sexually abused when I was little.

There.  I’ve said it.

The experience has resulted in some of the earliest and by far the most vivid memories I hold.

I was 4.  It was my babysitter.  The one who used to spend the night when her father didn’t come home…the one that would sleep in my bed with me…and tend me when my parents were out.

We’re told that our character is built or broken as we learn from and react to life’s experiences.  I hope one day I will be a stronger person because of what happened.  Right now I feel like I have merely pulled a convoy of baggage behind me, my entire life.

Now, 28 years later, I am beginning to feel the healing powers of abuse.  And it is beautiful.

I wish I could say that the experience was a bad one and that I moved on.  At least that is what my loving parents had hoped for me and what I had convinced myself deep inside.  But like most of Life’s experiences, it has greatly affected me since.

  1.  I am leery of babysitters.  (ok.  That’s a given, right?).  We have been very careful of where we take our children, who watches over them, and ultimately, we are rarely apart from them.
  2.  The designer and I are always seeking to show abundant and appropriate love for our children.  I want them to know what it feels like to have righteous affection.
  3.  I greatly dislike doctors.  (Ok.  Where did that one come from right?)  I am just beginning to understand this one, but shortly after the abuse incidents, I was diagnosed with an extremely rare bone disease.  My brave mother took me everywhere.  A great deal of my childhood was spent traveling all over Southern California to look for a cure.  I was prodded, poked and touched all throughout my childhood.  Though it was in an effort to heal me, I of course was mortified and utterly embarrassed, feeling guilty every time I again had to remove my clothing and be looked at and touched.  This is probably one of the reasons I have chosen to birth our children at home…(but that of course is a novel in itself).  :)
  4.  I was leery of intimacy.  I kissed a lot of boys, but usually broke up with them shortly after.  This is not a bad thing right?  I consider this one of the only blessings of abuse.  It’s hard to get into trouble when you are scared of intimacy.   The sad thing is that I was uncomfortable even hugging some of my best friends (mostly boys).  Of course I didn’t realize I was even doing this until I was in college.
  5.  I have difficulty trusting other’s intentions.  Once again, a no brainer.  This is a yin-yang for me, for I love people and feel they are amazingly good.  But at times, there is a part of me that is left wondering.
  6.  It has affected the intimacy in our marriage.  A love that is shared so deeply and felt so acutely should not have haunting of the past looming overhead.

Up until the past 6 months, I have suffered a great deal from allergies: seasonal allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergies.  I began to have even stranger reactions like migraines every time we were around a large body of water.  (I know, another story).  For the record: I’m not a hypochondriac.  And now I wonder if hypochondriacs really are too.

My good friend, Stacee, had been taking her son to an allergist and was finding great success.  She knew I had food allergies and suggested I go as well.  I had no idea how much good it would do to me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

During the past 6 months I have seen ZD Chudyba, an allergist, alternative medicine & acupuncture practitioner.  With my long history of medical intervention (“Forrest Gump” leg braces for 4 years, 3 orthopedic surgeries, and a lifelong dependency on Western Medicine), and my aversion to doctors, I have become open to trying new health avenues.

Though NAET may not be for everyone, I have had an amazing amount of success with ZD.  My food allergies are slowly disappearing, my anxiety is lessening, the pain in my legs is diminishing, and my burdens are lifting.

What I conclude, rather, is that whatever direction we take in our healing process, we have to be open, willing, and trust those healing us.  We have to choose.

I ponder the woman dying of a blood disease who took the last strength that she had to reach out and grab the robe of the Savior, (Matthew 9:20-22):

20 ¶ And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an aissue of bblood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

  21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be awhole.
  22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee awhole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

The woman was made whole.  She had the faith to be healed.  And she allowed His virtue, love, power, and Atonement, to heal her.  (I love that he called her ‘daughter,”…he loves us soo much!)

The first time I went to ZD I prayed whole-heartedly, that the Lord would help my body accept the treatment and begin to heal.  I truly began to understand the depths of His eternal Atonement.  As I envisioned myself giving up the burdens I was carrying over to the Lord, I saw His burdens also becoming lighter.  And that, my friends, was one of the greatest gifts I feel I have given the Lord.  Ensuring his selfless act was not without purpose.  By using His Atonement, trusting in Him to heal me, I could feel His love, His power, and His joy.

We all carry burdens: those of pain, fear, anxiety, loneliness, maladies, disappointment, feelings of abandonment, failure or even hatred.  We’ve been abused or have abused others verbally, mentally, emotionally or even sexually.

If we want to heal we have to have faith, but more importantly, we have to choose to use that faith.  Faith like the dying woman Matthew wrote about.  Faith to reach out to the Lord and ask him to heal us, to make us whole.  To allow the Savior to guide those healing us.

How long have we been holding sickness and pain within ourselves?  12 years like the woman?  Like me, could it be longer?

May we choose this day to use the Lord’s everlasting atonement.  May we make this choice to go to our doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, bishops or health practitioners with questions and be ready for answers, change, and action.  Allow our Savior to heal us once and for all.  That we too may help others to heal and be whole.

As I was laying after my treatment this week:  alone, listening to the peaceful music in the darkness, I opened my eyes and saw a blue light in front of me.  It was a large light, an essence of sorts.  It was blue, a deep blue, but full of light.  When ZD returned to remove the acupuncture needles, I told her about the light.  She said it related to my liver.  (We have worked much on my liver).

I am healing.  It is the beginning.  And that blue light, to me, was a symbol of hope.